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Bits & Pieces, II

Sept/Oct 2000

This will be a collection of items, each of which is too small for its own column.

Coolant in the Oil.  From Greg Childs, Kaysville UT, comes this story. He discovered coolant in the pan of  his 37-48 Flathead V8.  Tests showed that is was not a head gasket problem, so a ten year old sleeve in the block became suspect. A replacement block was installed, made to run, then test driven.  The hot oil was drained, and ...more green stuff in the oil. Testing established that a water pump was leaking coolant through the lube hole into the engine.  The lesson learned: Not all water pump failures are externally visible or audible.

Oil Filter Restrictor Fitting.  I get questions about the bypass oil filters that came stock on many of the later flatheads. There should be a restrictor fitting in the feed line between the engine and the filter. If this is not used, the oil filter will probably leak and engine oil pressure and flow may be dangerously low. A .040" hole seems to be about right.

Coil Bind.  What is valve spring coil bind and why do we care?  Any compression spring that is stacked solid, with no space between the coils, is coil bound.  It cannot be compressed any further. If you use a 10 coil 33-48 valve spring with late valves and the 2 piece 52-53 retainers, in an early block, you may experience coil bind with a stock cam. Usually, coil bind will break lifters.

Deck Stress.  Why do cylinder finishing with deck stress? For that matter, what is deck stress?  Deck stress is the force put into the block deck when a head is torqued in place. This stress causes deformation of both the deck and the cylinder bores.  If you duplicate this stress with a deck plate and the studs/nuts or bolts, previously round bores will be scalloped near the top.  If you finish the bores with this stress in place, they will be more nearly round when the cylinder heads are torqued in place, resulting in easier and quicker ring break in.

Dead Cylinders.  If you have four dead cylinders, even though they have spark and they are the center two on one bank and the end two on the other bank, suspect carburetion problems, if your engine is 34 or newer. Each throat of the carburetor feeds that combination with Ford's new, for 34, intake manifold. If they don't have spark, on 32-41, suspect the distributor rotor.

Overbores. The maximum safe over bores, in my opinion, are :

  • 21 stud engine                 3 1/16 +.080 if with a small top chamfer
    39-47  221 ci                    3 3/16
    39-53  239 & 255 ci          3 3/8

Setting Valve Lash.  The following diagram describes the procedure far better than any words.   Illustration A.

Power.  Why would anyone want a cam shaft with higher lift or longer duration?  For more power, usually at a sacrifice of low end smoothness.

Valve Stem Seals.  I would like feedback from the readers who have experience with valve stem seals on Flathead V8s.  Did it change oil consumption?  If so, was some other problem corrected at the same time?

Another Reader Feedback Request. I would also like to know this: What is the typical oil consumption for cars taken on tour or to the National Meets? In other words, in real world driving, not 300 miles a year.

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